eBay takes Wolverhampton retailers online

eBay is partnering with Wolverhampton City Council to help small local retailers to start selling online.

The Retail Revival partnership between the online auction giant and the local authority is the first such programme in the UK and is aimed at helping to close the £4.1 billion ‘digital gap’ holding back UK retailers, proving that ecommerce and the high street can coexist.

Experts from the eBay marketplace will provide support to the city's small retailers looking to launch or expand in their online presence.

New research conducted by YouGov and Development Economics for eBay shows that a quarter (25 per cent) of small retailers don’t have an online presence such as a website, social media channels or a spot on an online marketplace.

Nearly three quarter of small retailers that took part in the study (71 per cent) said they had no plans to close this digital gap in the future, suggesting a risk that non-digital retailers stand to lose substantial sales in the coming years.

This, the study suggests, is equivalent to £4.1 billion in extra sales revenue per year or £19,250 in additional revenue per business currently without an online presence.

The year-long Retail Revival partnership with eBay will offer Wolverhampton retailers onboarding assistance to build a personalized eBay shop featuring their full inventory, training in selling skills on eBay's platform, SEO and social media marketing.

The small retailers will also receive a free Premium ebay store subscription for the year of the programme with free listings and shipping supplies. There will also be promotional support with eBay offering to drive traffic to their stores across online and social channels.

Goodstart Jones, a manufacturer of custom bags and luggage participating in the Retail Revival programme, is looking to use training events to boost business and is hoping that a number of fellow local retailers will also sign up.

Paul Jones, owner of Goodstart Jones, said: “As a small, independent business we focus 90 per cent of our time on making our products the best they can be.

“This means it can be hard to find the time to reach customers at scale, which is why we are so thrilled to be a part of this project. We’re a proud Wolverhampton business and we want to use the internet to show the world what we can do.”

Rob Hattrell, vice president of eBay in the UK, said that the industry knows customer shopping behavior is changing and that online should play an important part in helping businesses in local communities to thrive.

He added: “I’ve seen that Wolverhampton businesses have the creativity matched with the entrepreneurial skill to create products needed and wanted all over the world – and eBay will help them to sell in the way they want to online.”

City of Wolverhampton Council leader, Councillor Roger Lawrence, said: “eBay will provide valuable support to city retailers in the wake of a challenging national retail climate affected by changes in consumer behaviour and the economy. It is an exciting programme that will help businesses with their digital marketing and sales skills, giving them a solid platform for sustainable growth.”

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